Assessing Year One of the Trump Presidency By John Zogby
In his Inaugural Address, President Trump promised a revolution which implied a year like no other year before. He has delivered such a year.
There have been abject failures — notably efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act and to pass an infrastructure bill, an immigration reform bill, and to build a wall along the Mexican border. There has been a failure to contain North Korea's nuclear development or rein in its mercurial dictator. He has also lost a record number of White House senior staff members and not been above throwing some of his appointees under the bus. He has continued to outrage and even inflame Muslims, Palestinians, women, Mexicans, and others — even cozying up to white supremacists.
There have also been some successes as well. The Islamic State is near death although the movement's capacity to cause death and destruction still exists. U.S. efforts in Syria have made a difference but it is hard to claim credit for that.
For someone who has promised to restore America’s greatness, he has caused many foreign leaders and citizens to question U.S. leadership and meaning in the world. For a nation that will need help from allies at some point in time, he has isolated the U.S. by having his United Nations ambassador insult countries who have not abandoned their policies on Jerusalem and has pulled out of the Paris Treaty on Climate Change.
The president has signed the first major tax reform legislation since the Reagan era, but it is difficult to see whether or not it will make enough Americans happy next year. He has ended scores of government regulations which many business leaders love.
But the year has been dominated by his ego and never-seen-before erratic behavior as a person and leader. Trump is to Twitter what JFK was to television — a master of the medium with the capacity to reach out to unprecedented numbers of Americans without the filter of the press. In some ways, it has worked for him.
As his first year ends, his approval ratings have climbed to average of 41 percent, among his highest numbers yet. He has been in constant war with most of the Washington establishment media and neither he nor they seem to be winning at it. He has been at war with the Russia special prosecutor who is investigating both him and his campaign for ties to Russian hackers.
Meanwhile, the economy spins along with the lowest unemployment we have seen in years, a 3.2 percent annual growth rate, millions of new jobs, and a stock market that has risen 5,000 points since Trump entered the White House. Consumer confidence is up and records were set by holiday consumers. Are we better offer than we were a year ago? Depends on who you are, how you see your world, and if you love or hate the president. At the very least, I suppose, if you really really hate Mr. Trump, you at least have very good reasons to get up every morning, right?"
Bottom line, he was elected by a fractured electorate and he has not moved an inch by trying to build bridges or heal the hyper-partisanship that pervades the body politic.
John Zogby (@TheJohnZogby) is the founder of the Zogby Poll and Zogby companies, including John Zogby Strategies, and author of We Are Many We Are One: Neo-Tribes and Tribal Analytics in the 21st Century America.